u.s. department of state

The State Department on Monday removed from its website an article about the history and lavish furnishings of President Trump’s privately owned Florida resort club Mar-a-Lago, following questions about whether the federal government improperly promoted Trump’s moneymaking enterprises. Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) pointed to the travelogue-style blog piece Monday, asking in a Twitter message why the State Department would spend “taxpayer $$ promoting the president’s private country club.”

Most of his interactions are with an insular circle of political aides who are new to the State Department. Many career diplomats say they still have not met him, and some have been instructed not to speak to him directly — or even make eye contact. On his first three foreign trips, Tillerson skipped visits with State Department employees and their families, embassy stops that were standard morale-boosters under other secretaries of state.

This week began with reports that President Donald Trump’s budget proposal will drastically slash the State Department’s funding, and last week ended with White House adviser and former Breitbart head Stephen Bannon telling the attendees of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that what he and the new president were after was a “deconstruction of the administrative state.” At the State Department, which employs nearly 70,000 people around the world, that deconstruction is already well underway.

It started out in Washington. Then it went to Jakarta. Then across Africa. One version even showed up on Facebook. Within hours, a State Department dissent cable, asserting that President Trump’s executive order to temporarily bar citizens from seven Muslim-majority countries would not make the nation safer, traveled like a chain letter — or a viral video.

Pages